Dave’s Shirts

31 08 2012

Since today is my brother’s birthday, it seem only fitting that I showcase and document a quilt I made specifically for him.

When I saw a listing for Mary Mashuta’s Tourist Shirt class in the Cotton Patch schedule, I knew immediately that I would make this quilt for brother Dave.  I had made Hawaiian shirts for him for a while, and Mary’s original design looked just like those shirts.  (FYI:  Mary’s shirt pattern is featured in her book Stripes in Quilts.)  In addition, I still had some of the leftover scraps, of course.  How cool would it be, I thought, to make a shirt quilt out of some of his shirt fabrics.  Turns out, it was kinda cool, but it was gifted before I got professional photos of it, so these photos are those taken when the quilt was displayed at the EBHQ Voices in Cloth 2002 quilt show.

Is That What You”re Going to Wear? 2001
70″ x 80″

Is That What You’re Going to Wear?

Dave, wearing some of his shirts

Happy Birthday, Davey!!

Ninepatches-Everything old is new again

24 08 2012

Still more squares – – –

I have posted the pictures of four patches and 16-patches, but I jumped right over the lovely ninepatches.

For me the ninepatch is reminiscent of the very first quilt I made in 1972, a ninepatch variation called Shoo Fly.  I started this quilt in Atlanta and finished it here in California.  It was a king-sized quilt, entirely hand-pieced and hand-quilted.  Took forever to complete but was a source of great pride.

Here are some more recent examples of this simple and great block, one that gives an opportunity to play with all sorts of wonderful fabrics.

Dotty Nine Patches

Made from the leftovers from Maggie’s graduation quilt, this little beauty was a fun exercise.

Dotty Nine Patches, 2007
38″ x 44″
Photography by Sibila Savage

I used this quilt to try a new machine-quilting technique, a free-motion quilting pattern on the border.  Needed to practice, practice, practice.

Dotty Nine Patches, detail, 2007

Vintage Ninepatches

Made from squares cut from scraps of vintage fabrics, these ninepatch blocks sat forever in piles in a drawer in my studio. Occasionally I would take them out, put them up on the design wall, and try to find a fabric for sashing that would make all the blocks look good, never succeeding.   Finally I decided to put them next to each other with no sashing, and the mash of all the fabrics together made me happy.  If I have one definable design aesthetic, it would be my desire to get as many different prints as possible into each quilt.  To date, this quilt succeeds at that goal more than almost any other, pushing the concept to the limit.  Using the strong border to hold all this chaos together seemed just right.

Vintage Ninepatches, 2011
67″ x 80.5″
Photography by Sibila Savage

Machine-quilting trick—If you have this much activity going on in the patches, there is no reason to spend hours creating and implementing intricate quilting patterns; any quilting pattern will be hard to see unless you are four inches away from the quilt’s surface.  Something simple works best here, which allows the fabrics to do all the heavy lifting.  See below:

Vintage Ninepatches, detail, 2011

BTW: It is a common myth that making a scrap quilt this large will use up all of those little bits and pieces that are saved because we might need/use them someday.  Hoarders-in-training take note:  no appreciable dent was made in my fabric stash as a result of this quilt.

Still Loving Those Squares—16-Patches

17 08 2012

And, if you want to try to get rid of these 2-inch squares a little faster and are bored with the four patches, try sewing them in 16-patches.

Simple 16-patches with no sashing create great masses of semi-organized fabric chaos.

Spring Bouquet, 2003
59″ x 66.5″

A Children’s Quilt Project Donation Quilt, 2009
40″ x 48″

Add some interest in the middle, and a medallion effect is created.

Christmas 16- Patches, 2009
For son Patrick Hennessey
Photography by Sibila Savage

And . . . TA DA . .

The Simple Pleasures Series

My all-time favorite 16-patch construction is the pattern I call Simple Pleasures.  I have made this quilt more than 10 times, including two huge Christmas quilts, and have taught others, individually and in classes, to make it, too.

The pattern originated from an antique quilt owned by friend Mabry Benson, and we thought this would make a good traditional quilt to raffle at one of our guild’s (East Bay Heritage Quilters) Voices in Cloth quilt shows.  I sewed the top, using fabrics that mimicked the turn-of-the-century fabrics in the antique quilt (much harder to do back in 1997 than it is today).   [Disclaimer:  these are not 2″ squares, but 1.5″ finished.]

Simple Pleasures I, 1997
76″ x 82″
Photography by Belda Photography

The detail photo of this quilt shows the wonderful hand quilting of volunteer members of our guild.  The quilt and a large quilting frame were moved from one house to the next, and quilters would work together on the quilting.  Ah, the good old days . . . .

Simple Pleasures I, detail, 1997
Photography by Belda Photography

Using the leftover fabrics from this raffle quilt, I made two more just like this one and a lap quilt as well.  Then I started playing with wildly different fabrics.

Here are a couple of my variations on this wonderful pattern.  The first uses all vintage feed sack and quilting fabrics, as well as vintage solids.

Simple Pleasures V, 2003
60″ x 71.5″
Photography by Sibila Savage

For this one I wanted to see the how this pattern would look without variation in the fabrics of the pinwheels.

Simple Pleasures VIII, 2009
60″ x 75″
Photography by Sibila Savage

The secret to this quilt is its simplicity.  It looks as though this quilt is very complicated, but, in actuality, it is made up of two simple blocks, a 16-patch and a pinwheel.  Stare at the above quilt (or look closely at the detail photo of Simple Pleasures I above) and see the blocks separate from each other.  Great optical patterns dance all over these quilts when color placement enhances the individual blocks.

Four Patches—–More 2-inch squares

13 08 2012

Now let’s look at the wonderful world of four-patches. This was founding-mother-quilter Mary Ellen Hopkins first suggestion when I caught this square patch bug:   when  you have piles and piles or, in my case, boxes and boxes of these 2-inch squares, start sewing them together and see what happens after you have piles and piles of four-patches.

The first of this series of quilts was made when I was working toward meeting my personal commitment to make graduation quilts for all six girls in my then high school daughter’s community service group (see other,  previous posts).  I made Fun Fours, intending it for one of the girls, and quickly realized that I could not give it away just yet, since it sang to me so much (sorry, graduates;  this one’s for me).

Fun Fours, 2004
72″ x 84″
Photography by Sibila Savage

So, of course, I turned right around and made two more quilts, from other stacks/boxes of squares.  Lavender Garden II was created for Christina Oraftik and  Hydrangeas was perfect for group leader Denise Grote.

Lavender Garden II, 2004
65″ x 80″
Photography by Sibila Savage

Hydrangeas, 2006
57″ x 72″
Photography by Sibila Savage

All three quilts are the exact same pattern, and all look quite different.  The streak o’ lightning sashing is so much fun and creates lots of opportunities to use up other small pieces that are leftover from other projects.  I don’t remember buying much fabric for these quilts, except perhaps for the borders and backs.

Also, I do not have detail photos of these quilts, but if you click on them, you can see the detail, sometimes a good thing, sometimes not.  Oh, well . . .

Hooked on Squares

10 08 2012

Remember all those drawers of fabrics from the last post a thousand years ago?? Time to show the vast array of quilts that have come out of that stash over the years.

THE FIRST is a very recent one, which started out to be a repeat of the Lithgow quilt.  Here it is in the preliminary stages on the wall in my studio.

“Lithgow II” in progress

I decided I wanted to mix things up, and have a rectangular quilt, so here is the finished top.

Finished top

I love to make these quilts that have thousands of colors and prints, and then I find that I have created a mess for myself when figuring out which color quilting thread to use.  On busy quilts like this, multi thread makes things look even more chaotic.  Don’t know how this one will turn out yet.

THE SECOND is also relatively recent, and is a pattern that I use over and over when I just want to sew without a lot of complicated planning.  It is also the design I choose when I fall in love with a fabric that I know will make a wonderful border, and the quilt is built from the outside in.

Confetti Squares, 2011
66″ x 73″
Photography by Sibilia Savage

Same design, now for Christmas.

Christmas Medley I, 2009
63″ x 72″

And a huge one–so simple and so much fun.

Dots Diagonal II, 2009
75″ x 89″
Photography by Sibila Savage

Dots Diagonal II (detail), 2009
Photography by Sibila Savage